England And Stalin Essay, Research Paper
Elizabethan England and Russia during Stalin
There are and have been many cultures upon this earth. There are cultures that might seem weird to us and cultures that look at us in wonderment. They have different lifestyles and whole different outlooks on life. Studying cultures is a work in itself. By studying and comparing other cultures, we can find out more about our culture and ourselves. Cultures contain different folkways. In the Random House Dictionary, folkways is defined as the ways of living and acting in a human group, built up without conscious design but serving as compelling guides of conduct (551). For example in our society we could define marriage folkways for LDS, and explain why it happens so early and also how the law of chastity plays a big part upon that. Elizabethan England is a culture full of folkways that might seem different to us, but explain to us a lot about our culture also. While Stalin was in control of Russia, the cultures there are hard for us to understand. It was much different from our culture now, and we can also learn a lot from them. Elizabethans refers to all those that lived in England during the time of Queen Elizabeth s reign. Stalinism defined Stalin s totalitarian control.
Elizabeth I lived from 1533-1603 .She was the daughter of King Henry VIII, and because of no males in the order she became queen in 1558. She reigned for 45 years (Adler 320). This was a time where they were making the change to become more modern, but still had the effects of the old society upon them. Stalin lived from 1879 -1953 (Adler p. 636). He lived in Russia during a time of great depression. The old government was struggling and looking for a new hope to guide them to have a better economy. This struggle to change is shown in a look at their folkways. I think if one compares Elizabethan England and Stalin s Russia s social ways, marriage ways, and religious ways, one can see what this change caused and how they dealt differently and similarly with the changes in society.
David Hackett Fisher described social ways as conventional patterns of migration, settlement, association and affiliation. The social ways of Elizabethan England could be described in one word: Xenophobia. To explain how they acted and reasons they did we need to start with migration. England was like a Renaissance melting pot but England was not proud of it and at most times feared it. The immigration can t compare to immigration in the 1900s, but England probably seemed like the hope during this European Era. People looked to it as there future, bad in contrast the English thought they would take the future away from them.
Another problem arose in the fact the English looked at themselves as better then all the others. England became Protestant in the earlier years and felt that was the right way to go. Because Europe s majority was Catholic, they were afraid that most immigrants would try and change there religion to Catholicism. Even though this was something that caused great concern among the Elizabethan officials, the biggest concern stated by Papp and Kirkland was their pocket book (51). They worried that the foreigners would come and steal their jobs. This was a concern because of the hard lives that was already being lived in England. It was like there was hardly enough for themselves than for others.
This Xenophobia which was exhibited by the Elizabethans was given towards all kinds of immigrants. Sometimes Jews were forced to hide his Jewish beliefs and act like a Protestant on the outside. There were also the Africans that came to England and at first did not come to be slaves. Because England was protestant they feared the Spanish the most, and expected that any Spanish that would come to England was there to bring the Catholic faith. Papp and Kirkland said, To English minds, Spain was an evil second only to the Devil, and they never passed up the chance to vilify their hated rival (62). They also resented the Turks and French. The Turks, because of the power they have gained, and the French because of the pocketbook also. The Elizabethan English were afraid of strangers and looked at the bad effects they might have on their lives.
In Russia, during the reign of Stalin, they didn t experience the same kind of Xenophobia that the Elizabethans did. It was not popular at the time to immigrate to Russia. Why would they? Russia was struggling economically. It was almost like they experienced a form of isolation. They didn t fear other nationalities because there wasn t much in Russia. They feared each other. Stalin created this fear by purging different classes and because of their different social backgrounds. By 1929, Stalin had the all-purpose term, stakhtyites (wreckers), for anyone he wished to destroy. He had instant instructions; arrest, try, shoot (Johnson p. 267). People had to cautiously look at what they did in fear of being purged. Neighbors would turn their neighbors in for any suspicious acts.
David Hackett Fisher describes Religious ways as patterns of religious worship, theology, ecclesiology and church architecture. It is true that part of the prejudices in England towards others came from their Protestant revolution. England was different from most countries in Europe at this time. The majority of the English was protestant and belonged to the Church of England. This church clamed to be a mix between Lutheran, Calvinist, and Catholic (Adler 318). King Henry VIII started this church when he wanted to divorce his first wife in order to have a male child that would be able to succeed him in his throne (318).
By the Act of Supremacy, King Henry made himself the head of the church and by this act Queen Mary later changed the religion to Catholic, which was then changed back into Protestant by Queen Elizabeth (318). There were laws that were made later on the even required the English to attend church each week. Because of these changes one can see why someone might not rely so much on going to church and think more on astrology. Even more than that this gave fear to the Queen, and church officials. Because they were Protestant they feared the influence of Catholics on the common people. I think the Queen did not know what to expect. Europe was not use to freedom of religion yet. I think she feared the unknown and that this might lead to more confusion and destroy the order she was searching. Because of this, the Queen put strict restrictions on who can travel and who can t. Sometimes she even went to great extents to kick people out of England. I think Religion was used to try and unify England. There was not that much of a line between government and church during those days.
I think we can see that although they took opposite strategies, both Stalin and Queen Elizabeth tried to accomplish the same thing: control. Elizabeth feared the different religions and forced people to go to the protestant church. Stalin feared church also, so he forced them not to go. Now if people believed they would have to do it secretly. He forced Priests to deny their beliefs and then killed them. The kind of renunciation that most interested soviet authorities was when priests renounced the cloth. Such renunciation if done publicly, provided dramatic support for the soviet position that religion was a fraud that had been discredited by modern science (Fitzpatrick p. 128). This effected a lot of people s ideas on religion and those that still wanted to be faithful would have to do in secret and behind doors.
In discussions of marriage of family questions, it was almost always assumed without question that it was the men who sinned and women who were sinned against (Fitzpatrick p. 146). Many times, women complained to the government about there husbands leaving them, beating them, or not supporting them with child support. Usually, this was responded by the government and they made new rules to control this and better the family life in Russia. England was not so kind to their woman. Even though England was now being lead by a female, the women had no rights. …the ideal marriage gave him the authority, to take away or give any freedom to his wife. The husband had total control over the women, and there wasn t much sympathy given to the women.
Even though it looks like these two countries would be totally opposite from each other, it was interesting to see the similarities. Both of their social ways were guided by fear. The religious ways of these two countries both experienced a decrease in their faith. Religion was either being forced upon them or being taken away from them. Neither of these strategies would help. The family ways was interesting in seeing the opposites of what I would of thought before. In a lot of ways domestic life was more controlled in Russia.
I think a lot can be learned by comparing the folkways of Elizabethan England and Stalin s Russia. It shows the struggle that some countries have to change and find themselves. I think the sources of a lot of our modern day folkways can be traced back to Elizabethan England and a lot can be learned from Russia. I think that the study of other folkways is important. It helps us understand more people that are not part of our culture. It helps us understand ourselves more. We need to understand all people so we can love one another and take the good of each culture to progress in out lives. We can learn from others.
Papp, Joseph and Elizabeth Kirkland. Shakespeare Alive. New York: Bantam, 1988.
Adler, Phillip J. World Civilizations: Volume One: to 1600. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2000.
Adler, Phillip J. World Civilizations: Volume II. St. Paul: West Publishing, 1996.
Stein, Jess. The Random House Dictionary. New York: Random, 1981.
Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Everyday Stalinism. Oxford: Oxford, 1999.
Johnson, Paul. Modern Times. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991.